Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: October 4, 2007

Poisonous Landscape Plants

Need design help?
Check out our
Design Services.
Rhododendrons can be highly toxic

It's surprising just how many landscape plants and common weeds can be poisonous. The type and severity of toxins differ. Some plants produce mild reactions that are temporary and some are downright deadly. Conversely, there are edible landscape plants and some with both edible and deadly parts on the same plant.

The table below contains the common and botanical names of some more common landscape plants and weeds that are highly toxic. If ingested in sufficient quantities, these plants can be deadly. The amount required to be deadly can be as small as a few leaves or as in the case of Castor Bean - a single broken bean. To see pictures of the plant, click on the common name.

Just because a plant is highly toxic doesn't mean you have to rip it out of your garden. Simply exercise caution when working with the plant (wear gloves) and wash your hands immediately afterwards. If you have small children or pets that like to chew on things, you may want to avoid these plants.

The table below is not a comprehensive list of all known poisonous plants and does not include any of the poisonous mushrooms. For more information, consult:

UC Davis Poisonous Plant List
North Carolina State University Poisonous Plant Database

Should ingestion take place, call the Poison Control Center and seek immediate medical attention.

Poison Control Center: 404-616-9000 (Metro Atlanta); 1-800-222-1222 (Outside Metro Atlanta)

Highly Toxic (Deadly) Plants

Common Name Botanical Name Poisonous Parts
Monkshood Aconitum spp. All Parts
Buckeyes Aesculus spp. Seeds, Leaves, Sprouts
Florida Leucothoe Agarista populifolia Leaves
Elephant Ears Alocasia spp. All Parts
Autumn Crocus Colchicum spp. All Parts
Scotch Broom Cytisus scoparius All Parts
Daphne Daphne spp. All Parts
Delphium; Larkspur Delphium spp. All Parts
Foxglove Digitalis spp. All Parts
Snakeroot Eupatorium rugosum All Parts
Coral Bean Erythrina spp. All Parts
Carolina and Swamp Jessamine Gelsemium spp. All Parts
Glory Lily Gloriosa superba All Parts
Mountain and Swamp Laurels Kalmia spp. All Parts
Golden Chain Tree Laburnum anagyroides All Parts
Lantana Lantana camara Berries
Doghobble Leucothoe spp. Leaves, Nectar from flowers
Privet Ligustrum spp. Berries
Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum Leaves, Stems, Roots; Fruit is edible
Fetterbush Lyonia spp. Leaves, Nectar from Flowers
Oleander Nerium oleander All parts (even if brown)
Flowering Tobacco; Tobacco Nicotiana spp. All Parts
Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia Berries
Pokeweed Phytolacca americana All Parts (young leaves edible if prepared correctly)
Pieris Pieris spp. Leaves; Nectar from flowers
Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum Leaves; Unripe Fruit (edible when ripe)
Apricot Prunus armeniaca Leaves, Twigs, Seeds; Fruit is edible
Cherry Prunus avium Leaves, Twigs, Seeds; Fruit is edible
Cherry Laurel Prunus caroliniana Leaves, Twigs, Seeds
English Laurel Prunus laurocerasus Leaves, Twigs, Seeds
Peach Prunus persica Leaves, Twigs, Seeds; Fruit is edible
Black/Wild Cherry Prunus serotina Leaves, Twigs, Seeds
Rhododendron; Azalea Rhododendron spp. All Parts
Jetbead Rhodotypos scandens Berries
Castor Bean Ricinus communis Seeds (Beans)
Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis Roots (tubers)
Scilla/Squill Scilla spp. All Parts
Nightshade Solanum spp. Leaves, Berries
Potato Solanum tuberosum Leaves, Sprouts; Tubers are edible
Yew Taxus spp. Bark, Leaves, Seeds
Vinca Vinca spp. All Parts
Calla Lily Zantedeschia spp. All Parts
Rain Lily Zephyranthes atamasco All Parts, especially the bulb

Copyright © 2007 by Theresa Schrum - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of Theresa Schrum